Stalins blauwe potlood

Historica Holly Case schreef een lang, maar fascinerend stuk over Stalin als eindredacteur:

Joseph Djugashvili was a student in a theological seminary when he came across the writings of Vladimir Lenin and decided to become a Bolshevik revolutionary. Thereafter, in addition to blowing things up, robbing banks, and organizing strikes, he became an editor, working at two papers in Baku and then as editor of the first Bolshevik daily, Pravda. Lenin admired Djugashvili’s editing; Djugashvili admired Lenin, and rejected 47 articles he submitted to Pravda.

Djugashvili (later Stalin) was a ruthless person, and a serious editor. […]

Being an author is well and good, […] but [Stalin] knew that editing was a higher power. Naimark argues that editing is as much a part of Stalinist ideology as anything he said or wrote. This insight warrants amplification. Under Stalinism, anyone could speak or write, but since Stalin was the supreme gatekeeper of the censorship hierarchy and the gulag system, the power to edit was power itself. […]

“We still lack a satisfactory theory of Stalinism,” writes Slavoj Žižek. Perhaps such a theory, when it comes, should take Stalin’s editorial mania seriously, not merely as a personal tic, but as a way of seeing the world and understanding history.

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